So, depending on how close you have your supple finger to the clammy, trembling pulse of the internet nerd community, you may have heard that a couple of months back a group of enterprising young anti-societals finally cracked Gmail's CAPTCHA system. CAPTCHAs are those squiggly little sets of letters and numbers that usually appear whenever you’re doing something like registering an e-mail account or so much as considering logging onto Myspace. They’re supposed to help websites tell the tax-paying, air-breathing human beings from the bloodless, hulking towers of metal and circuits that spew ads for “Ulltra no-risK Roy@l N1gerian C0k pi11s” 24 hours a day without rest or surrender. The idea is that the nightmare machines shouldn’t be able to read the letters and numbers (because of all the squiggles) while the humans should. But here’s the problem: letters and numbers are a computer’s whole thing. Expecting them not to figure these things out someday is like tying Lindsay Lohan up in a room alone with an oil drum full of blow and expecting her not to eventually gnaw through the ropes. We don’t win by trying to beat the computers on their own turf. We win by playing the right game: by engaging them on subjects that no computer has any idea about, but any live human being knows almost instinctually. Here’s what I mean: Click the items that a person might "hit": Click only on Michael Jackson's self-image: Click the items that would pump up the average bro: Click only the "cool" animals:
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